Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Spanish & Portuguese

First Advisor

Julio Baena

Second Advisor

Núria Silleras-Fernández

Third Advisor

Andrés Prieto

Fourth Advisor

Juan Pablo Dabove

Fifth Advisor

John Slater

Abstract

Wild figures densely populate the forests of the Baroque imagination. They appear so frequently on the stages of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish theaters that they form a sub-genre with its own conventions. In these works, resolving the traditional conflict of the comedia is synonymous with eliminating wildness––however it manifests itself. As a result, this process of restoring disrupted social order sheds light on the ideological framework that guides it. Through an analysis of the plays in which they appear, however, I argue that wild figures increasingly resist the imposition of ideology over the course of the Baroque. Their wildness causes a problem in the text that cannot be resolved through the conventions of the Spanish comedia, which exposes the hollowness of the ideological purpose of the genre, and of ideology itself. Through the application of prevailing ideological theories, my argument demonstrates the symbolic range of the wild figure, and its ability to uncover how the culture of the Baroque conceived of its delinquents and its princes, its history and its future, its men and its women, and the value system that supported it. To accomplish this task, I interpret the wild figure through the lens of monster and gender theory, and also early modern political and natural philosophy. This multi-faceted approach exhibits the extent to which the pervasive wild figure becomes an obsession of the Baroque imagination that reveals the overarching anxieties disavowed within the ideological context of the period.

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